Le feu d’issey- catching fire…

Since I have already a couple of years sporadic blog writing behind me as a contributor at Ca Fleure Bon and as a guest writer for Ines at All I am – a Redhead where I was fortunate enough to tread my blogger-baby steps, I will, at least for now, skip further introduction or even the explanations and without further ado, get on with it; a warm welcome to my first post on The Sounds of Scent.

I have missed writing, but being between flats, living out of suitcases, moving out, in or around and redecorating have taken up a lot of time. There are fun things about moving too though; for instance how you rediscover things which you have managed to pack away for so long you truly had no idea of their existence. And so, in a box full of useless old things, stocked away in a Copenhagen basement, and before that in a loft somewhere in south London since its move from Germany, imagine my delight at finding a nearly full bottle of Issey Miyake’s Le Feu d’Issey*. I have no idea when or why I packed it away; I can even no longer remember when I got it, but the sight of the bottle and the quick spray brought back memories.

Of all the fragrances I ever owned, Le Feu d’Issey was perhaps the closest I ever came to having a signature scent. That was back when it was a new scent in the late ‘90s and early 2000, as it went with me through Music College. I wore it so often I get phantosmia just thinking of that red- orange crazy plastic ball. I am not sure anymore if I simply had enough of it one day, or if it was actually the unavailability that made me stop wearing ‘Issey’s Fire’, but little by little it drifted out of my sight and thoughts, and it wasn’t until much later, aware of its increasing rareness, that I tried to hunt down a bottle for nostalgic reasons.

Almost impossible to describe to the uninitiated, I’ll have a go at it none the less. The green juiciness of bergamot and coriander combined with anise/ wormwood are a punch of an opening.

I keep getting this absinthe-imagery; the green liquor which changes into a milky opalescence, by adding sugar and water which in turn will bring out the herbal aromas of the liquor. This could be Le Feu. As the coconut milk and a creamy- slightly sour- lily joins the greenness- the lactones underlined by the sandalwood from the base, it adds an extra subtle change to the herbs and spices.

The sweetness keeps vying with the sourness for attention, with a fickle pink rose thrown back and forth between the two, undecided where she stands. And the wormwood gives a last smirk, before it sinks into a supposedly comfortable woody-amber base.

le feu-soundsofscent

The perfume is instantly recognisably unique; it was different back then too, I had never smelled anything quite like it, and on the other hand it was clear that it tried to dig into that new genre; the Gourmand.  Perhaps it had even tried to do what Angel did before, be unashamedly different and become a success for it. Le Feu misfired, and was discontinued.

I moved on, and bought and wore different things, but it wasn’t until I sniffed Douce Amere by Serge Lutens, that I fell truly in love with perfume again; Douce Amere being of course another great (albeit entirely different) wormwood creation for lover of the woody-oriental genre. I wasn’t looking for a substitute, but I was looking for a new perfume to intrigue and beguile me and ultimately, unknown to me at the time, it was the one that send me down the fragrant rabbit hole. But that’s a different story, and that will have to wait for another time…

*Created by Jacques Cavallier in 1998

Notes vary, but here from Fragrantica: The top notes are bergamot, coconut, rosewood and anise. The heart is composed of jasmine, rose, milk and caramel. The base notes are cedar, sandalwood, Guaiac wood, vanilla and musk

For more perfume reviews of Le Feu d’Issey see Fragranticaolfactoria at perfume smelling things, PeredePierre, sorcery of scent

pics are mine

24 thoughts on “Le feu d’issey- catching fire…

  1. Welcome dear Asali to our perfume blogging world!
    Finally! 😀
    I am so happy to see your first post come to light.
    It’s a bit bittersweet thinking of perfume loves from the past but I see the fire still burns strong for this one. 😉

    • Dear Ines, thank you for your sweet comment- without your persistent but soft pressure, this would probably never have happened, and I’m so glad it did.

  2. What an excellent start (one of my oldest perfume loves!) for your new blog, dear Asali!
    Looking forward to every new post! xoxo

    • Thank you dear Birgit. I know, I was so happy to find out that this one was so dear to you too. A real rabbit hole fragrance it seems…

  3. Dear Asali – This is a wonderful surprise! One I’d been hoping would come true, and now that it has, I look forward to coming here often. Love the name of your blog, so perfect for you – and this post of Le Feu de Issey is intriguingly described. A milky opalescence, a fickle rose and a smirking wormwood … it sounds like a charmer!

    • Dear Suzanne, as always, such a lovely comment, I’m glad you like the name- such a tough thing to choose. I think you would be charmed by the feu actually, but perhaps also a bit surprised, it’s not undangerous playing with fire.

  4. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging, and what a lovely start with Le Feu d’Issey! 🙂 I hope you’ll find much joy in noting down your thoughts on perfume, and I look forward to reading your reviews in time to come.

    • Thank you so much SV for your support and kind words of welcome. I just dicovered, Mea Culpa, that I must have missed you when I transferred the blogroll from blogger, I will correct that instantly. Anyway, so glad to be here, and joining the smelly-gang.

  5. Congratulations on your new blog Asali! Such wonderful news. I’ve always enjoyed your writing elsewhere so this going to be a great addition to the fumiverse and my regular reading.

    Loved your post and the ways it comes full circle at the end.

    Comparing Feu d’Issey with Absinthe really helped me grasp what this clearly unusual and unique perfume smells like. Especially enjoyed the fickle rose being thrown back and forth. Fab writing.

    • Tara, all this fumiverse-love, makes me blush somewhere between the pink rose and the colour of the plastic flacon 😉 Thank you for your heartfelt welcoming.

  6. Asali
    This is an amazing review of one of the hidden gems of perfumery . You are such a gifted interpreter of scents, so talented and so proud that you are starting your own blog. It will be on your own time without pressure and it will give you joy as well as terrify!
    One of the most beautiful pieces ever written for CaFleureBon The Passing of Winter Shubert’s Winterreise and the 100 th Birthday of L’Heure Bleu comes to mind as you embark on a new beginning
    I hope it is ok to post the link

    • Thank you Michelyn, your support and kindness truly means a lot to me. And the piece you mentioned on winterreise happens to be my own favourite piece.

  7. Dear Asali,

    It’s great to see you opening your own blog: I’m glad that writing elsewhere didn’t scare you away but, on the contrary, gave you the necessary nudge to start something on your own. And it’s so fitting – a post about your old favorite (and a very nice one, I should say; too bad they’ve discontinued it: out of the whole line-up this one would have been the last I’d have chosen for the discontinuation).

    I look forward to reading your future posts!

    • Dear Undina, I couldn’t agree more on your assessment on the Miyake line-up. Thank you for your encouragement on my blog-venture, and approval of Le Feu.

  8. Grinning!!! I am so happy you decided to “put out a shingle” as the saying goes. You are such a beautiful writer and discerning reviewer. I look forward to being a regular reader.

    As for this perfume: I remember you telling me about it, but still have not any recollection of testing it. I will try to rectify that.

    • Dear Natalie, well we must rectify that soon, I wonder what you’ll think. Thank you for saying such nice things and of course for friend- and readership.

  9. Congratulations on your new blog! I’ve always enjoyed reading your post on other blogs. 🙂 I’m even more of a blog newbie, just started mine last month.
    You really are a wonderful writer and reviewer! I look forward to visiting here often. 🙂

    • Oh congrats to you too then, will head right over to visit 🙂 Thank you very much, I’m quite overwhelmed at all the people who actually remembered that I wrote before, that’s so nice. One never quite knows, and certainly doesn’t expect it.

  10. Hi Asali,

    Great to see you finally starting your own blog, and what a friendly font, may I also say? Love the header picture too, featuring one of my own favourite scents, Labdanum 18. I was never a fan of Le Feu d’Issey – absinthe is not a note I care for – but I am very happy to learn you have unexpectedly found your old bottle. I know how iconic and much missed it is – a friend in Stockholm has me on the lookout for anything approaching it. In terms of milky amberness and a touch of tea and smoke, I wonder whether L’Artisan’s Amour Nocturne is a little bit similar. I involuntarily came by a full bottle of that and am looking for people who know Le Feu d’Issey better than me to make a comparison!

    • Yay, thanks for commenting on the font and header too, man it was tough to get it exactly as I wanted it, so I’m glad you like it. Labdanum is lovely, isn’t it? Finding a substitute for le Feu is really a tough ask. I think it also depends exactly what it is one likes about it. Somebody smells a rose fragrance, some a woody oriental, some an abstract masculine gourmand etc. I haven’t tried Amour Nocturne, so I can’t comment on that. Perhaps she could try Etra Etro, which is probably the closest match.

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